Seared Chicken with Tomato Sauce and Fried Lemons
"A whole chicken gets the weeknight treatment by being cooked entirely on the stovetop! Use thighs for quicker prep."
-- @breadandbasil

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Prep time 15mins
Cook time 45mins
Serves or Makes: 4-6
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  • 1 3-4 pound whole chicken, (or 3-4 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium lemon, sliced crosswise into 1/8 inch rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbes de provence
  • 1/ 2 cup water, or vegetable stock
  • 1/ 4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/ 4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • Salt and black pepper, To Taste


  • Step 1

    If using chicken thighs only, skip to the bottom of this step. To prepare the whole chicken: place the chicken on a large cutting board breast side down. Take a sharp and sturdy pair of kitchen shears and cut closely along the spine on either side. Set aside this piece for future use in stock. Next, open the bird and lay it flat, inside down and breast side up. With your hand, firmly press on the chest to flatten; the breastbone will probably break. Flip chicken to expose inside and use a sharp knife to cut along the cartilage and remove breast bone, then separate the two halves. Combine salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in a small bowl and then rub the surface of the chicken halves (or thighs) on all sides. Optional: chill in fridge chicken on a sheet pan, covered, for 2-8 hours in seasoning rub.

  • Step 2

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers in the pan, add the chicken halves, breast side down, and sear until deeply brown, about 7 minutes. Flip chicken and cook on other side for an additional 5 minutes, then remove chicken from pan and set aside.

  • Step 3

    With rendered chicken fat and remaining olive oil still in pan, arrange the lemon slices in a single layer and fry on each side until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a clean plate and set aside.

  • Step 4

    If needed, add additional olive oil to pan. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until softened and onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir to coat with oil. Add the herbes de Provence and reduce heat to medium, cooking until tomatoes begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Add water or stock to pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom, then place chicken halves back in pan, breast side up. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat, basting sauce over chicken every so often, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F at the thickest part of the breast and thigh, about 30 minutes.

  • Step 6

    Place chicken in a clean serving dish and allow to rest for 10 minutes. If sauce seems watery, reduce with lid off until slightly thickened. Turn the heat to low, and stir cold butter into the cherry tomato sauce. It should emulsify with the liquid and thicken it further, creating a silky texture. Season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper. Serve the chicken with pan sauce, lemons, and parsley.

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